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Weather predictions

Until comparatively recent times mountain people, because of bad roads, poor means of communication, and steep rough mountain terrain, were somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. And they were forced to figure out many of life’s mysteries on their own. One of these mysteries was the weather, and changes in the same. It seems to be a part of the nature of man to walk out of his house in the morning and take a look at the sky, or at the birds and animals of the forest, or the foliage round about, and soon come up with a weather prediction for the day. Many times they don’t even need to leave the house, because there are weather signs within.
Sometimes the old man may wake with an aching in certain joints of his body and tell with more accuracy than the weather satellite, that it will be a rainy day. Or they may look out the window and see a large bunch of birds bunched together on the ground, pecking away at anything that looks edible. In this they see a sign that bad weather is not far off. They may have gotten an inkling of this when before going to bed, they may have stepped out into the night and noticed a ring around the moon, or the way the door hinges and the boards in the floor groaned and squeaked.
We have all heard, I am sure, about how smoke from the chimney heads for the ground before a snowfall. A heavy dew is usually the assurance that once it dries off the grass, the remainder of the day will be good for the golfers. As the day wears on if tree leaves show their backsides, look out for some rain.
Farmers have always put a great deal of dependence on the almanac. This is probably because the almanac provides information necessary to operate a farm. These little books are passed out by drug stores and feed and seed suppliers. From it the farmer, if he doesn’t already know, can find the gestation period of a farm sow, or cow, or even how many days he has to wait before his hen and turkey eggs hatch. The almanac also tells him when it’s the best time to plant blackeyed peas, corn, potatoes and other edible crops, planting times that are determined by position of the moon.
Weather predictions found in the almanac are determined by averaging conditions over past periods of time. The story is told of a heavy shower of meteors that once came to a farming area in America. An old man and his wife were afraid they were experiencing the beginning of the end of time. “Go and get the Bible,” he shouted. She returned complaining that she couldn’t find the Bible. “Well, get the almanac,” he said.
Since the weather through the years has followed patterns, predictions in the almanac are fairly accurate. Then too, predictions cover such large areas that if snow is called for and fails to fall at some places in the area, it will likely come somewhere else within the area.
There is an old tale told about the Farmer’s Almanac that may or may not be true. It seems that in the year 1906, the almanac was ready to go to press and someone noticed that there was no weather prediction for July 13. The editor who was taking the day off told the copy boy to put in anything he wished, so the boy called for rain, hail, and snow. On July 13 of that year, at different places in New England, it did all three, bringing about a renewed interest in the accuracy of almanacs.
To really get right down to it, whether it be called superstition or just foolishness, we are all predictors of the weather. Unconsciously we reach for the proper wrap, or for an umbrella, or a heavier pair of socks, because something around us has given a weather report. Instinctively we move at any sign of change. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Pink sky in the morning, sailors warning. Pink sky at night, sailors delight.” Or it may be something more complicated like, “If the door is hard to open, watch out for rain.”
Don’t get taken in if the predictor has had to resort to rhymes, and put off a family outing just because someone once said, “If Friday dawns clear as a bell, it’ll rain on Sunday sure as hell.”
It probably won’t.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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Weather predictions

Until comparatively recent times mountain people, because of bad roads, poor means of communication, and steep rough mountain terrain, were somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. And they were forced to figure out many of life’s mysteries on their own. One of these mysteries was the weather, and changes in the same. It seems to be a part of the nature of man to walk out of his house in the morning and take a look at the sky, or at the birds and animals of the forest, or the foliage round about, and soon come up with a weather prediction for the day. Many times they don’t even need to leave the house, because there are weather signs within.
Sometimes the old man may wake with an aching in certain joints of his body and tell with more accuracy than the weather satellite, that it will be a rainy day. Or they may look out the window and see a large bunch of birds bunched together on the ground, pecking away at anything that looks edible. In this they see a sign that bad weather is not far off. They may have gotten an inkling of this when before going to bed, they may have stepped out into the night and noticed a ring around the moon, or the way the door hinges and the boards in the floor groaned and squeaked.
We have all heard, I am sure, about how smoke from the chimney heads for the ground before a snowfall. A heavy dew is usually the assurance that once it dries off the grass, the remainder of the day will be good for the golfers. As the day wears on if tree leaves show their backsides, look out for some rain.
Farmers have always put a great deal of dependence on the almanac. This is probably because the almanac provides information necessary to operate a farm. These little books are passed out by drug stores and feed and seed suppliers. From it the farmer, if he doesn’t already know, can find the gestation period of a farm sow, or cow, or even how many days he has to wait before his hen and turkey eggs hatch. The almanac also tells him when it’s the best time to plant blackeyed peas, corn, potatoes and other edible crops, planting times that are determined by position of the moon.
Weather predictions found in the almanac are determined by averaging conditions over past periods of time. The story is told of a heavy shower of meteors that once came to a farming area in America. An old man and his wife were afraid they were experiencing the beginning of the end of time. “Go and get the Bible,” he shouted. She returned complaining that she couldn’t find the Bible. “Well, get the almanac,” he said.
Since the weather through the years has followed patterns, predictions in the almanac are fairly accurate. Then too, predictions cover such large areas that if snow is called for and fails to fall at some places in the area, it will likely come somewhere else within the area.
There is an old tale told about the Farmer’s Almanac that may or may not be true. It seems that in the year 1906, the almanac was ready to go to press and someone noticed that there was no weather prediction for July 13. The editor who was taking the day off told the copy boy to put in anything he wished, so the boy called for rain, hail, and snow. On July 13 of that year, at different places in New England, it did all three, bringing about a renewed interest in the accuracy of almanacs.
To really get right down to it, whether it be called superstition or just foolishness, we are all predictors of the weather. Unconsciously we reach for the proper wrap, or for an umbrella, or a heavier pair of socks, because something around us has given a weather report. Instinctively we move at any sign of change. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Pink sky in the morning, sailors warning. Pink sky at night, sailors delight.” Or it may be something more complicated like, “If the door is hard to open, watch out for rain.”
Don’t get taken in if the predictor has had to resort to rhymes, and put off a family outing just because someone once said, “If Friday dawns clear as a bell, it’ll rain on Sunday sure as hell.”
It probably won’t.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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